So I mentioned Bears the other week. Since then I’ve had difficulty sleeping. There’s been this overpowering empty feeling in my life as I’ve suffered every day looking at the same few small pictures of these fascinating inside-out bears. Luckily for me, my family, my friends and my work colleagues, I’ve finally got the book. However, my regular sleeping pattern hasn’t returned; I just can’t get my head from between the pages!
10 PRINT “I LOVE THIS BOOK “;
20 GOTO 10
No, that didn’t work! I’ll try again. Let’s go back to the beginning. Bears, by Kent Rogowski, is published by PowerHouse Books (distributed in the UK by turnaround-uk.com) and is a photographic adventure of teddy bears. These aren’t your everyday teddy bears…well they are but they’ve been carefully opened up (!), turned inside-out and then restuffed to create a whole new bunch of characters. Some are exactly as you would imagine if you hadn’t seen Kent’s results while others are so cute you just wouldn’t be able to design them or even dream them up. You can imagine, teddy bears are made using different methods but this isn’t always apparent when you look at them in their normal manner. What you’ll no doubt imagine is seams an stitching. While there are plenty of these on each bear there is also much more. Depending on their designs, some have missing limbs while others have additional appendages of varying kinds. Take the image on the left – there appears to be some kind of rubber balloon from the bear’s nose like some kind of children’s WWII gas mask while in another there appears to be a little speaker package and wires going to the bear’s ears like a bear-like iPod! Cloths that were taken from individual bears have been kindly returned so that none of the bears are shamed by their inside-out nakedness!
Kent is primarily a photographer. This really shows as soon as you take a proper look at the images within the book. Each Bear has been photographed in the same way as any human model would be for a glossy magazine. The plain white backdrop and the lighting is perfect for the job. What really makes each bear shine from the next is that none of the bears are made to fill the pages unnecessarily. Small bears are small and large bears are large. This leaves different amounts of negative space on each page and really makes the photos interesting.
All of this fun comes at a price though. Some people aren’t as happy about the bears as I am. Some people have been loosing sleep for completely the opposite reason; teddy bear’s rights! His “blatant bear brutality” has earned himself the the title of being the “Damien Hirst of the toy cupboard” and someone’s even started a protest under the name “Bearnesty International“! I don’t mean to stir up trouble by there is a diagrammatic image at the beginning of the book that explains Regowski’s technique that he used to turn these bears inside out. The worrying thing is how the illustration shows him holding his knife; like a serial killer! ;-) You can’t go cutting toy bears open without expecting this kind of backlash…this is The Internet damn it!
Anyways, Get yourself a copy to enjoy and study as I have (or to protest against!). It’s a hardback edition and weighs in at 96 beautifully freakish pages. You can get a copy direct from PowerHouse Books, Turnaround or all of the usual places including AmazonUK. Once my little daughter stops crying I’m sure she’ll thank me for “upgrading” her favourite teddy for her…I’m sure your kids will thank you too.